Once upon a time, there was a poor, humble man who, having fallen upon hard times, could no longer bring an offering to the temple. So he got on his knees, bowed down and offered the only thing he had left to give... himself. Waiting quietly for a response and expecting the worst, he was surprised when the gods, acknowledging his good nature, honesty and humbleness, gave him a magic listening cap so that he might hear as he’d never heard before.
“But I can hear quite well!” he said. “What new sounds are there in this world that I have not yet heard?” The gods smiled gently, “Have you ever really heard what the birds say as they fly amongst the trees? Have you ever really understood what the trees whisper to one another when their leaves rustle in the wind? Have you ever really heard the language of a flame as it springs in and out of a wood fire; the cry of the ocean as it beats upon the rocks; the singing of the sparkling stars or the silence of a tumbled stone?”.
The old man shook his head. He understood. “Thank you,” he whispered. “I will treasure my magic listening cap forever.” He rose and went about his daily tasks where, through deep listening, he was able to bring peace and harmony into the world in service to others.
Class 1 often put on their ‘magic listening caps’ at school, for we have not only been learning how to read and write our letters, but to read and listen to nature’s script as well. Whilst at home, the children (and their families) have been encouraged to play and learn outdoors, feeling the warmth of the sun, the increasing coolness of the autumnal night air, the magnitude of the night sky and the wonder of the rising/setting sun. They have been asked to listen to the sounds of the oceans, rivers and waterfalls whilst foraging in the bush or on the beach, experiencing the healing forces of Mother Nature. They have drawn from her cloak of many colours, creating mandala, natural paints and land art from her bountiful gifts.
With the help of their families, the children have been asked to capture some of the sights, sounds, tastes, textures and smells of nature in metaphor and verse, describing what is special about this place we call home, whilst building a deeper relationship to the four elements of earth, water, fire and air. In this way, awe, wonder and love for the manifestations of Nature permeated by Spirit are gently being fostered.
Children are deeply connected with the world of nature. When their natural enthusiasm and inborn feeling of reverence are fostered in childhood, an inner strength and harmony develops in them, leading later to an inner freedom of thought and action in adulthood. (Sally Schweizer)
This enthusiasm and reverence is also fostered in Class 1 through the telling of wonder tales which, rather than speaking of growth forces, or forces of gravity or levity, present imaginative pictures of the Little People - the gnomes, fairies and elves, generally brought under one concept: the elementals.
As adults, we can also connect with the earth and its servitors through our sense organs, especially when we can call forth from our inner life a constancy, a stillness, that enables us to become one with nature and the elemental world. As perceiving, discerning beings we can also develop a conscious connection and relationship with the worlds that lay beyond our physical senses. These worlds are where creative, spirit beings, which have borne many different names over the course of time, live. Connecting with nature and spirit, human beings can become mediators, freeing the elementals from enchantment and becoming co-creators in the evolutionary tasks of our time through living deeds of love.
May we all strive to wear our ‘magical listening caps’ and perceive the spirit so we may respond to the challenges of our times with new hope for beauty, truth and goodness.
Class 1 Teacher